Anybody know anything about cellphone signal boosters?

Because I need one bad but I’m utterly confused at the variety available on Amazon. Prices range from around $150 to $1K and they all make the same claims.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to Anybody know anything about cellphone signal boosters?

  1. R says:

    Make sure you consider something with the ability to connect to a directional antenna that you can point to whatever distant tower is providing your signal.

  2. Wayne Dygert says:

    One of the few good things about Amazon is their return policy. You can buy one. Put it on a pole (line of sight to tower) and rotate the pole while watching the signal strength indicator on your phone. No/poor results… Send it back. Sorry I’m not smart enough to suggest anything better than cut and try.

  3. Cliff says:

    I bought and installed the $400 dollar unit from Wilson Electronics

    It works ok not great just ok. It is directional and does take some fiddling to get it pointed right. It took us from an intermittent signal to a consistent low strength signal.

  4. TK421a says:

    Reading this made me courious about cellphone signal boosters and took a look. Boy, colour me shocked. I had no idea these units cost so much. I think that what Wayne Dygert said is spot on. Buy a unit from Amazon, try it out and, if it doesn’t work, return it. Amazon has a 30 day return window to test one of these units out.

  5. terrapod says:


    Before you spend a dime, let me make you a cheap passive cell booster based on something a Chinese guy posted online. All it takes is some bent wires and a chunk of coax. Cost is zero as I have all the materials on hand. What you need to tell me is approximate distance between highest point on your abode that you could safely mount a pole down to the room you spend the most time in with the phone, assuming you can drill a 3/8″ inch hole to feed the coax into said room.

    This is what I would build/send to ya.

    Considering the build price of zero, figure it is worth a try. I prefer to use copper wire instead of coat hangers, but what the heck. The hard part will be to place it at a high outdoor point and aim a flat side towards the nearest cell phone tower.

  6. Joel says:


    I don’t know who Phil is, but I’ll take one. 🙂

    Reference this picture:
    I envision mounting the antenna to the wall beside/above that little window, which opens into the loft. That wall faces the nearest (~ 10 miles away) cell tower pretty squarely. I can run the coax in through the little window and straight down the ladder hatch; no hole drilling needed. The ceiling is high, and the hatch is pretty well centered between the two places I most commonly use the phone. I can mount a pole on that wall beside the little window quite easily but with a homemade antenna think it best not to raise it above the wall because wind will probably shred it, so unless it just won’t work that way I’d prefer to mount the antenna on the wall rather than on a raised pole. So ten feet of coax would be plenty; eight would probably be enough.

  7. Big Wooly says:

    I must concur on the weboost. Expensive, but allows me to make a phone call when I need to when the connection was spotty before.

  8. Ben says:

    A simple test would be to climb up to your loft on a “bad signal” day and hold your phone near that window to see if reception materially improves.

  9. terrapod says:

    Erk@! I had Phil of busted knuckles on the brain when I drafted that note – sorry about that Joel. I will get working on the pieces parts this weekend. Looking at your photo I am guessing that 40′ of coax will be ample. All the rest will be fabricated and assembled as far as possible before shipping. You can follow the pictures at the link provided earlier to make the indoor connections.

    Yes, if you can hang it near the peak of the lair, assuming that faces towards the cell tower, that should work. A few nails at an angle and a strain relief to hold the cable against the wall should do it. I will toss in all the parts that will be needed. One stop shop.

  10. Grurp says:

    You might check out: and-boat-how-weve-kept-online-for-13-years-of-technomadic-travel/

    – how the folks listed at connect to the internet

    Spend some time poking around all the links above and reading all the interesting posts. It should give you some ideas about how to improve your connectivity and a lot of assorted knowledge (sort of like this “https://xkcd. com/214/”).

  11. wakara says:

    “Anybody know anything about cellphone signal boosters?” That suggests to me that you want to install an active (as opposed to passive) repeater in your abode so that you can flexibly move about around in and out doors. I am very leary of being around a lot of RF EMF radiation that these active WI-FI and cellular wireless boosters (and cell phones) produce, not to mention the cost $$$. I would suggest minimizing RF EMF exposure by starting off small and cheap, and experiment, as “terrapod” suggests, with a passive back-to-back antenna arrangement that might work with a directional antenna on a tall, lightning protected, outdoor mast connected directly, via commonly available RG58 co-ax, to a well shielded groundplain, omni-directional automotive NMO 3/4″ hole sheetmetal groundplain antenna suspended upside-down from the ceiling. The two antennas must be well distanced and shield from each other to avoid producing spurious osccilations. Then if you think it’s still necessary, you can always add an active $$$ Wilson booster/repeater later-on. 5th example at the bottom of the website page.

To the stake with the heretic!